Monday, May 23, 2005

SBS2003 SP1 Installation Plans

Small Business Tech Notes

Small Business Tech Notes

This is a blog entry to let you know what is coming over the next few months. We'll be very busy working on things for you relating to the latest service pack. The proper installation of this service pack is critical to the continued security of your network. The main purpose of the service pack is to enhance security. It vastly reduces the "footprint" that your server leaves as it goes about doing your work. The smaller the footprint, the more secure the network. We'll be performing a lot of background work first and then finally for the last step we'll be on site for the installation of the final components.

Small Business Server 2003 Service Pack 1 has been released. I"ll be installing this service pack on the Harbor Computer Services SBS server this week. In Geek, this is known as eating your own dogfood. We install it here and live with it for a while to make sure that your installation will go smoothly. Meanwhile, we read and read and read and read, the installation notes and newsgroup postings of any gotchas that others run into, to make sure that we are properly trained to respond to any situations that may arise. The installation of this service pack is expected to take about 4 hours! At that, the estimate doesn't include the pre-service pack work that has to be done and the upgrade of ISA Server 2000 to ISA Server 2004 that you are all entitled to as SBS Premium owners. Wow, this is going to be a big job. I expect this rollout to take place through the summer and into early fall. Once testing is complete on our server we'll start rolling out the Service Pack based on the complexity of your network. We'll start with the 1 server networks and work our way up to the more complex installations. We'll also plan to do this installation after hours on weekends so as to cause minimal disruption to your network. Finally, we are currently planning to install the base of the service pack first and then upgrade the ISA Server at a later date.

We have some prep work to do to your server first before the service pack can be installed.

1. Hard verify your backup tapes. (this has been completed for all clients; trouble spots are being cleared up now)
2. Install any hardware updates that are necessary. Dell has released a new BIOS for their servers that must be installed first and often we'll need new drivers for the SCSI controllers in the server as well.
3. Install and configure Exchange SP1 and the Internet Message Spam filter. (this has been completed for all clients)
4. Make sure we have 2GB of free space on the C: of the server
5. Make a separate backup of the server Group Policy, registry, sharepoint websites and system state.

Then we'll be ready. The remaining prep work to be completed will be done remotely.

We've been on top of this update process and anticipating this service pack for a long time and so have over the last several months installed certain components of it as they were ready. I'll note those below.

Here's what the SBS2003 SP1 contains:

Windows 2003 SP1
Exchange 2003 SP1 - completed
Sharepoint SP1 and patches - completed
ISA Server 2004
XP SP2 and Group Policy changes - completed
SBS2003 new wizards and security settings

I anticipate installing our first service pack by the middle of June. We're going to go slow with this on purpose. Better safe than sorry. Better methodical than haphazard.

Amy Babinchak
Harbor Computer Services


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